Day Seven: Quiet Work & Chaos

June 12

Papa,

This comes a day late, since we fell into bed after midnight last night. I slept like a rock, a dog, and a baby on the hotel’s wonderful pullout couch. We left New York City late, after missing our Lyft ride because we were standing in the wrong spot, and so trotting across streets, chasing down Raphael in the Toyota Highlander.

The day’s end looked different than its dawn… 


I read Psalms 60 and 61 on a rock above the water, waiting to go home. 

“For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my soul waits for him,

He only is my rock and my salvation…

Selah.”

And the sea filled the silence. I read and looked up at each Selah, waiting, watching the power of God move the waters. They came toward me, splitting softly open on the jetti, uncurling themselves onto the pebbled shore.

Then, they did it again.

Joel reminded me yesterday of Mary Oliver’s poem, “I Go Down to the Shore”:

“I go down to the shore in the morning

and depending on the hour the waves

are rolling in or moving out,

and I say, oh, I am miserable

what shall — what should I do?

And the sea says in its lovely voice:

Excuse me, I have work to do.”

We rumbled off the Cape bridge, the van full of our things, the cottage on Forest Beach Road empty of them. Of course, there was still New York ahead, but it would be all uphill and inland from here— all homeward. On Tuesday, I’ll wake at six to write, work, reschedule things.

And the sea will keep on its quiet work.


We stuffed the afternoon full yesterday, once Philipp (from Cameroon) dropped us off into the hay day of Times Square. Within five minutes, Mom got assaulted by Minnie Mouse and Trent nearly lost his money on fruit snacks a man thrust into his hands. 

Goodness knows where we’d have ended up if Joel’s friend, Abe, hadn’t acted as a guide. We met up with both Joel’s friends and left Times Square, realizing with the relief that the entire city wasn’t screens and ads, drunk men and naked women.

So, we craned our necks at the toes of the Empire State Building, heard our voices echo off the gold dome of Grand Central Station, hurried the boys back to their bus station, found our way into the marble lobby of NBC, forced metro cards out of a machine and sped down brick tunnels to the Staten Ferry station, sailed at sunset past the glittering city and Lady Liberty, walked on sore feet to Ground Zero, stared into the dark sky-hole that was once a tower of souls, missed our Lyft, caught Raphael, and sped through the street maze back to our hotel. 

“That did me in,” I said this morning. “I’m ready to go home.”

And the sea will keep on its quiet work.


See you soon (thanks for letting me write!),

b.j 


From: L.C. Melton

Well, I don’t know if my reply will reach you before you get home, but I can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated your daily messages.  I’ve been excited to hear of your grand adventures, especially when you were reliving things Nanny and I did over the years. I am also blessed that you have Nanny so closer to you in memories, letting things remind you of her dear life. Remember when you miss her terribly as I do, to look into you father’s face and into his heart, for you will always find his mother there. That is the way I find her, and by looking into your heart and your mother’s, sisters’ and yes, even your brothers’.

Thanks so much for writing about yesterday. The photo of you all on the ferry looks like cats drug through the mud. You have to be exhausted.

Rest and be safe.

Love,

Papa


The Cape Cod Letters are a series of emails between my grandpa Larry and I, written during my family’s trip East in June. Papa Larry took 30 trips to Cape Cod in his life, but this was my first, so I wrote home about it. I’ve shared these letters each Thursday on my blog this summer.

4 thoughts on “Day Seven: Quiet Work & Chaos

  1. your papa makes me want to see that ferry photo 🙂

    aren’t we thankful for things like the sea when we come away weary from the city?

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  2. Oh my……Papa’s response brought tears to my eyes. He is so right though. I can see your Nanny in your father and each of you. She was an amazing woman and her legacy lives on in each of you. I must remind myself not to read these while I am work because I am standing at my computer with tears streaming down. If anyone happens by I will be hard pressed to explain this! Love you all……

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